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RF Experts Involved in Haiti Communications Recovery

FCC employees used spectrum analyzers, receivers to identify operational status

Jamie Barnett, chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission, says commission employees deployed to Haiti used “Project Roll Call,” a system developed after Hurricane Katrina in which commission employees use spectrum analyzers, receivers and other equipment — to identify the operational status of communications following a disaster.

International Bureau Chief Mindel De La Torre, along with Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Chief Engineer William Lane, continues to work with Haiti’s communications regulator Conatel to identify communications needs and priorities of the Haitian government, assess damage to communications facilities and services, and to evaluate options for getting services restored.

In addition to those two, the FCC team included three staff who’d deployed to Haiti days after the Jan. 12 earthquake to support a FEMA Mobile Emergency Response Team, two additional FCC engineers and two industry experts. The report last week was about a subsequent trip at the end of January.

Among the activities of the Roll Call team, engineers provided spectrum monitoring and interference resolution for FEMA and U.S. search and rescue teams; they provided RF spectrum scans as well as toured damaged facilities and inspected equipment.

One of the team members that went to Haiti, Barnett said, now is deployed to Vancouver to help with the communications support for the Olympic Games.

The FCC also said it had issued 83 waivers to its fundraising rules and that 716 TV/radio non-commercial stations aired fundraising efforts for Haiti relief.